From left: Republican Govs. Haley Barbour, Rick Perry and Bob McDonnell urged Members to find ways to rein in the Obama administrations regulatory power at House Republicans retreat in Baltimore on Friday.
The House is expected to finish off its work this week on Thursday with consideration of a resolution by Rules Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) that would instruct committees with jurisdiction to begin working on legislation to replace the health care law. Republicans ran on a campaign to both repeal and replace the health care law.
At the retreat, the new majority also spent much of its time trying to refine plans to cut spending.
“There is a huge feeling of unity, of people being very humbled by the opportunity to be involved in what I consider to be certainly a historical pivotal time in our nation’s history,” Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) said. “We can go one way or the other, and we intend to go upwards and increase opportunities for the next generation by getting control of the debt that we have been forcing on the next generation.”
How House Republicans’ spending cuts are met in the Senate and at the White House “are all very, very open questions,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), the Chief Deputy Majority Whip.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy said that Republicans are well aware that they are now “one-third, where the Democrats control the Senate and the president,” but that House GOP leaders are committed to making their mark in the next two years.
“We want to make sure this country moves forward but moves forward in the right path,” the California Republican said.
Miller said that the upcoming debate over raising the debt ceiling, expected to be an early test of Speaker John Boehner’s leadership, was a hot topic among Republicans this weekend. There, too, Republicans are blaming the Democrats.
“Nobody wants to do it,” she said. “On the other hand, the debt has been driven up by President Obama and the Democratic majority. These are bills that are going to come due to the American people, and I think, for that particular vote ... we obviously want to be able to use that as leverage to make sure that President Obama and the Democrat majority in the Senate understand that we would never agree to such a thing unless there was a huge amount of spending decrease.”
Miller predicted House Republicans would be “the driver ... on fiscal responsibility” over the next two years.
GOP Members are also eager to increase scrutiny of the Obama administration and sought the counsel of three GOP governors who attended the retreat — Barbour, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell and Texas’ Rick Perry — about ways in which the administration might be encroaching on their states.
The governors urged Members to find ways to rein in the administration’s regulatory power, arguing that everything from environmental controls to education and health care should be left to the states.
Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has announced plans to investigate the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other industrial sites, while Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has said he wants to launch six major investigations during the first three months of the year, including probes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s role in the foreclosure crisis, recalls by the Food and Drug Administration, and the release of classified government cables by WikiLeaks.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.